St. Stephens welcomes Rev. Olsson to the Middlebury church
MIDDLEBURY — This past Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury welcomed their new priest, The Reverend Paul V. Olsson.
How does one welcome a new priest during a pandemic? The congregation got creative and held a drive-up Pounding, a ritual in Christianity in which a new priest or minister is given gifts by members of the congregation. The practice can be traced back to at least the 19th century, when communicants of a church visited the parsonage and dropped off a pound of an item, such as coffee, sugar, flour or honey.
In five-minute increments, parishioners drove up to Father Olsson’s new residence and dropped off a pound of something. The drop-off lasted three hours. Coffee, chocolate and baked goods were well represented, as were a gift membership to Middlebury Natural Foods Coop and a year’s subscription to the Addison Independent.
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